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The University of Minnesota will pay more than $200,000 to search for a new president to lead its five campuses starting next year.

The university signed a contract last month with WittKieffer, a firm based in suburban Chicago that has done searches in the fields of education and medicine.

The contract requires the U to pay a $200,000 fixed fee, $10,000 for technology and research and additional "out-of-pocket expenses" to cover candidates' travel and other costs that will be billed at a future date. Costs reported so far are comparable to the ones from past searches.

The U hired former Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger to serve as interim president this summer, after past President Joan Gabel left to take another job. Ettinger's contract ends next summer.

In a public meeting Friday, regents told members of the search firm what qualities they'd like to see in the next president, outlining many of the same attributes they described in the process that led to Ettinger's selection.

Multiple regents said they wanted someone who is capable of outlining a vision for the university while possessing a track record of actually implementing changes. They said they wanted someone who can build relationships with a wide variety of people — including students, faculty, lawmakers and donors — and who can juggle the U's commitments to education, research and medicine. Many said they wanted someone who is adept at handling crises and who has both the confidence to make bold decisions and the humility to accept criticism.

"They should be excited about an incredible opportunity at a very pivotal time," said Regent Penny Wheeler.

Next month, regents are expected to select members of an advisory committee — a mixture of students, faculty, alumni and others — to help narrow a field of finalists. A final selection is expected next year.